My phonebook

That awkward moment when you scroll through your phone book looking for someone to talk to and you realize 1/4 of them are your clients, 1/4 are work colleagues who you gossip about daily occurrences in the world but you’ve not really been in touch with since the pandemic and your jobs were ‘canceled'( for lack of a better word).

Then you go further down and find contacts of relatives who you hardly talk to save for the occasional death/sickness announcements in your family WhatsApp group – though there are active “memers” in this group who send daily forwards and help save the group from extinction.

On your phone you can’t miss that handful of numbers from ‘friends wa kitambo’. You know, those ones that you bump into somewhere after so many years and to fill the awkward moment you exchange numbers and promise to ‘hook up soonest’ but you know deep in your heart you will never look at that number again. The shame of knowing this even as you take that number down makes you avoid eye contact as much as possible while talking gibberish to each other.

Therein, you will find a handful of exes contacts as well. Some ( most) of whom are blocked but just to be sure that you never pick their calls you actually do not delete their numbers. In this group there are exes, flings, baby daddy’s/mummies, stalkers and yes – even a current lover may find themselves here occasionally depending on their conduct.

I also found that I have numbers of people that have passed on 😭😭😭. I can never bring myself to delete this numbers try as I may. Not sure why I still hold on to them though – denial perhaps? 

Then, there is a cluster of kamati ya roho chafu. Former friends turned foes who go through your profile like monitoring spirits. They shamelessly view your WhatsApp status religiously. Never commenting, never saying hi or making any move to connect with you. This group also consists of frenemies. I can only imagine this ones pop on your WhatsApp status just to get an idea of what is happening in your life. If you post something controversial, you will hear it from someone who is not even on your contact list! This are the modern day pigeons, carrying messages back and forth an disseminating to various quarters’

I also have numbers of ‘essential people’, this are the top priority always – or rather they are on speed dial. If they call in the middle of the night and my phone is on ( nowadays it usually isn’t since the pandemic made me realize the world can actually function without my input), but if it were, I will pick immediately. This are parents, siblings, close friends ( about 3 at this point 😂), Teachers, Mpesa lady, Employer, Shop guy, Caretaker, watchman, Suppliers ( delivery guys etc.). Hawakosi kwa speed dial, Kwanza mtu wa gas ako very high on the list, this ones can actually avert a crisis. At some point mtu wa cab pia alikuwa top priority, but Uber zikamtoa kwa top priority list. But the guy is still there kama back up – just in case technology fails or the need arises na hauna soft kwa mfuko( pun intended)

Then there are those random numbers that I don’t know why I have them but can’t delete them coz what if I need them? There must be a reason I took the numbers, right? To finish up that list, kuna zile numbers za wale watu you can always rely on ukiwa in a crisis. Hapa hata inaeza kuwa mtu mmoja tu. This list is strictly 1-5 people if you are very lucky. This ones you don’t just call ovyo ovyo. Apart from your normal talk, hawa ndio wale you know watakusort if you are caught between a rock and a hard place.

I have been this person to a lot of people over the years. Its crazy how you realize the role you play in folks lives when you detach yourself or when something like rona happens. Lines are clearly defined and boundaries you never knew existed are made crystal clear. Kuna users who only call you to ask for a favor, money or kama unajua mtu mahali fulani. But there are also genuine, sturdy, reliable and dependable friends. Those who just ask you how you are doing ama salamu tu. But without this characters the circle of life would not be complete. All we need to do is understand what role each one plays in our lives, and we will be happier and more fulfilled that way.

Cheers to all of you! Mnajua your respective roles. Side note – After going through all those numbers I finally ended up calling my small sister. The end